Family Fun

“Cool, there is a trail of blood all the way to the door!”

As my young second cousin Shawn uttered these words, I was still feeding small bunches of cranberries into the blender for relish, and making quite a trail of red looking blood myself.

The evening before we had suspended the no slurping the noodles rule on spaghetti night and that may have been our undoing. The kids were primed for fun with adults who were willing participants in the antics. Thanksgiving morning started early with my being the only one who wasn’t too grossed out to clean the icky stuff out of the turkey. Truth be told, I was completely grossed out and very angry with myself for forgetting to bring food handling gloves. Kudos to my cousin Jill who stood by my side cheering me on while thanking her lucky stars I was the one with my hands up the turkey butt. Really, she is the one who had four kids and changed their diapers but I was left with this disgusting chore. I was there because the kids made sure I was invited to participate in Thanksgiving. I am told their instruction to mom was, “Invite the cousin who cooks.” I was too flattered to think of saying, “I don’t clean turkeys.”

The disgusting work done, I found some of the kids in a heated track and field tournament on the Xbox. In hindsight, we should have encouraged more of that.

As the day wore on and the house was full of people, a number of them got the idea if they went outside and played on the trampoline they wouldn’t be given any more kitchen chores. This brings me back to the cranberries.

I was blending away, engaged in pleasant conversation when a whole gang of them came swarming into the kitchen, one crying hysterically. The crying one was yelling, “My tooth is loose, my tooth is loose.”

Someone else, said, “There sure is a lot of blood.”

At this point everyone was talking at once.

“Let me see your tooth.”

“Owwwwe it hurts”

“Uh oh, the tooth just came out.”

“Quick put it in milk.”


“I read that somewhere, they can put it back in if you put it in milk.”

“Only if it is done quickly”

“Is it a baby tooth or an adult tooth?”

“I don’t know”

“What do you mean you don’t know? She‘s your kid.”

“I can’t keep track of every tooth.”

“Where is all that blood still coming from?”

“Her mouth is hardly bleeding.”

“Does anyone know what happened?”

At this point I had no idea what was being said much less who was saying it. We finally got the gist of the story though. While on the trampoline, the child with the now missing tooth, jumped up and tried to grab her dad, also jumping on the trampoline, and hit him in the head with her chin. Further investigation into “all that blood” revealed quite a deep gash on her dad’s head. At this point we stopped focusing on one crying child and turned all of our attention and medical knowledge to the gash on the head.

“It is a head wound, we really should clean that.”

“It is a head wound and really deep, I think he needs stitches”.

“Nah, it isn’t that bad.”

“Both of them should go to the emergency room.”

“Are you kidding, it’s Thanksgiving. The place will be crowded with people who are really sick or injured; they will never get to them for hours.”

“Dinner is almost ready.”

“How about urgent care?”

“I don’t know where the closest one is.”

“Well Google it!”

“Why don’t you just go to the drugstore for bacteria cream and butterfly bandages.”

“OK. Lets’ go do that.”

At least four of them head out the door at this point. We decide to turn off the turkey and leave it in the oven to stay warm. We stand around and stare at the rest of the food debating our next move. We are wondering out loud just how long all of this is going to take. Two of us decide to consult some expert medical advice and get a hold of Dr. Internet and Dr. Google. We figure if it was a baby tooth, we can eat sooner rather than later as we won’t need to find emergency dental care on Thanksgiving. We conclude it was a baby tooth so we begin prepping the side dishes. Finally, we get a call from the walking wounded and they tell us the pharmacist strongly urged them to seek emergency medical care and that they are headed to the nearest urgent care center. Being good sports they tell us to eat without them. Being reasonably good relatives, we say, oh no, everything will be fine; we will wait for you.

A lot of time goes by. We decide to call them for an update; excellent food is being overcooked after all.

“Well the doctor is still trying to decide if it is a baby tooth. He is consulting some texts and making calls. “

“It is a baby tooth. We Googled it.”

“I don’t see how anybody is going to decide anything. They have the kid and we still have the tooth.”

“How about the head wound?”

“They haven’t looked at it yet.”

“OK; call us back.”

We putter around the kitchen, and, with time on our hands we also troop outside to admire the trail of blood. After moving some furniture earlier to make more room for eating, I notice some yellow things on the floor. As I bend to pick them up my cousin says, “Oh those are nerf bullets.” I decide it is wise to just accept that without further explanation. The phone finally rings again, and we are told the consensus of medical opinion is that it was indeed a baby tooth, head wound is being stitched up, and they should be home in a half hour.

Everyone arrived home healthy and happy and we all sat down for our meal. The blessing was a little strange as we were “thankful that everyone was healthy”, but it was all pretty funny to us at this point.

Now one would think after all the excitement of the afternoon we would settle in to watch a movie after dinner. That is not how this tribe rolls. We are once again rearranging the furniture when one cousin walks into the house, (from the front door this time) and says, “I don’t want to be the mean adult that tells on them, but your kids are on the roof of the house.”

The head injury patient is carrying one end of the table; I am on the other end. He has not heard this comment about kids on the roof. Out of the corner of his eye he sees something very strange in a high window. He looks at me in surprise and says, “Wow a bird just flew really close to that big window up there. “ Just as I begin to explain that it was probably a kid… with eyes wide as saucers he says, “No wait, I think I just saw a head out there!”

I respond with the utmost calm, “Yes the kids are on the roof.”


We join the rest of the adults already gathering on the front lawn gaping up in amazement as more kids continue to climb out of the upstairs window and on to the roof. The Kennedy clan played touch football on Thanksgiving. The Kennedy’s were wimps. I remark, “I don’t think this game of football is going to end well.” Silly me; they were not tossing a football to each other. They were building up their arsenal for launching from the catapult they had constructed up there. Really they were only un- supervised for about ten minutes! How did that happen? After they ran out of ammunition, and we were breathing a sigh of relief and demanding they come back down, the kid from next door came over and began tossing the ammunition right back up to the roof for re-launching.

Everyone was finally corralled back inside and all settled down to watch movies, log on to computers, and play with dolls when young Shawn said, “This was the best Thanksgiving ever”

Photo: Composite image created for Silhouettes from creative commons flickr photostreams including: Pinhole12, ChrisMRichards, Annika Nyberg, emilybean, and one licensed image (the turkey) from
Darby Britto

Darby Britto

I was raised in the south by a pair of Yankees, and everyone around me wore combat boots. I think this explains a lot. A childhood spent working in little theatre and a professional career in television, tends to give me a point of view not often shared by others.

  1. Great story, thx for sharing. My T-day was way more relaxed! Miss you, hope all us well.

  2. Frank Povah

    Hey Darby; great read – and long time no read, too long. Happy whatever does it for you.

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